Yesterday, President Donald Trump released executive order which the current ban on immigration work visas extended until the end of the year. This move prevents immigrants outside the United States from applying, but since new visas are usually issued in October, the effects of the new rules will be noticeable until 2021.
The proclamation is specifically designed for H-1B and H-2B visas, as well as for J and L. visas. As a result, the San Francisco Bay Area, with its high concentration of STEM-based industries, may be disproportionately affected.
To better understand the potential impact of an executive order on a startup community – and the technology landscape as a whole – I interviewed Sophie Elcorn, TechCrunch MemberSilicon Valley immigration attorney.
TechCrunch: How long does an executive order ban new work visas?
Sophie Alcorn: The new ban will last at least until December 31, 2020 and may last longer “as needed”. The government plans to review this order over the next month. Every 60 days thereafter, the departments of state, labor and internal security will recommend changes if necessary.
What will be some of the initial consequences of suspending new H-1B visas?
Recipients of this H-1B visa lottery this spring (for the government fiscal year 2021) will not be able to apply for visas at consulates this year. Usually, after I-129 is approved in the summer, applicants will be interviewed for visas at consulates abroad to request H-1B and enter the United States before the typical start date of October 1. This is likely to be impossible this year.
For people with technical, professional and research experience and research companies, the big effect is that this year there will not be a new J-1 for interns, trainees, researchers and specialists who are currently abroad.
Do you have an idea of how many J-1 visa holders are in the Gulf area?
According to my estimates, there are at least 15,000 J-1 visa holders in the Bay Area. In 2018, there were over 35,000 participants in California through more than 600 sponsors, in accordance with State DepartmentThe goal of the program is to promote intercultural exchange.
J-1 is not only housework assistants who are vital for so many families, including those with special needs, but also for many other types of workers. Other examples are postdoctoral researchers at universities such as Stanford and Berkeley in countless fields. J-1 holders also conduct advanced research at private technology companies in areas such as artificial intelligence, semiconductors, and genomics.